Most people don't know it, but heat sensors are tracking your every move in local Krogers. The company says the technology decreases wait times for a more efficient, in and out, check-out experience.
The sensors use infrared technology to count the number of customers, as well as measure shopping speeds. The data goes in to an algorithm, predicting when customers will be ready for check-out.
"It does work, it works really well," said Kroger customer Chris Call in an interview Friday. "I usually don't have to wait here, whereas at other places, you do have to wait."
Data predictions can change depending on the day, with customers more likely to shop slower on weekends, and faster after quitting time.
"Sunday there are people in here doing what I call power-shopping," said Ed Southern, manager of the Carytown Kroger. "They're coming in here to get a week's worth of groceries. They're going to take a lot longer than your Friday night customer who is here for beer, pizza, the quick shop."
By looking up at screens near the front of every local Kroger, people can see what the sensors are telling the employees. Three numbers are displayed, showing the current, optimal, and future number of check-out lanes that should be open.
"The first number is how many lanes open we have right now," Southern said. "Based on our data, the number labeled "action now" means how many lanes we should have open. The third number is the expectation of how many lanes should be open thirty minutes from now."
Kroger estimates the devices have slashed wait times from around four minutes, to thirty seconds.
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